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Toronto's new single-use and takeaway item bylaw comes into effect on Friday

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Getting take-out in Toronto is about to look slightly different as the city’s new single-use and takeaway item bylaw comes into effect later this week.

Starting Friday, businesses will be required by law to ask customers if they’d like a single-use “accessory food item,” such as utensils, straws, napkins, paper shopping bags etc. before providing them.

The bylaw was approved by Toronto City Council on Dec. 15 after being presented in a staff report as a way of reducing the single-use plastic waste that comes with take-out.

Businesses will also be required to accept reusable shopping bags and reusable cups if customers choose to use them.

Originally, single-use plastic cups were included in the bylaw, but that requirement was amended.

“The City is committed to helping retail business establishments comply with the bylaw through targeted education and outreach activities, and collaboration with the City’s BIAs and other community partners,” it said on its website.

Businesses who do not follow the new rule could face a fine of no less than $500 and no more than $100,000.

The city previously estimated that it will cost $450,000 to run and enforce the program, $250,000 in 2024 and $100,000 each in 2025 and 2026. Any further spending would need to be considered as part of the 2025 budget. 

The bylaw can be viewed in full here.

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